By 90Min
February 10, 2018

Jese Rodriguez had a late penalty saved as Stoke came from behind to draw 1-1 with Brighton and have Albion at the bet365 Stadium.

The home side made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Bournemouth in their last outing. Out went Geoff Cameron and Peter Crouch, and in came Darren Fletcher and Mame Biram Diouf. As for the visitors, Chris Houghton made just one change to the side that beat West Ham 3-1 last weekend, with Solly March coming in for Anthony Knockaert.

Brighton's club-record signing Jurgen Locadia started on the bench for the first time, but the visitors didn't look short on attacking threat early on. Last week's man of the match Jose Izquierdo almost got his side off to a flying start after he cut inside on the edge of the area and got a stinging shot away, however Jack Butland did just enough to tip the ball over the bar.

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Whilst the two sides were separated by five places before kick-off, there were also separated by just three points, with Stoke starting the day in the bottom three. 

A win was crucial for both sides, and the early stages of the game proved to be a real end-to-end tussle with Stoke dominating possession but Brighton looked threatening on the counter attack.

Izquierdo then had an almost identical chance on the half-hour mark after Dale Stephens played him through on the left hand side, before he then cut inside and tried to curl the ball into Butland top left corner, however was unable to test the keeper this time around.

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He was the most dangerous player on the pitch, and finally got his rewards with a very well worked goal. He played a one-two with March before playing another one-two with Stephens who then slid the Colombian through on goal and finally got the better of Butland with a neat finish. It was his second goal in two games and only Brighton's sixth away goal all season.

Stoke ended the half with a flurry of chances, however were unable to mange a shot on target heading into the half time break. Lambert had an important half time team talk coming up with his side looking to complete a remarkable turn around like they were on the receiving end of last week against Bournemouth.

The home side came out for the second half a rejuvenated side, putting the stern Brighton defence under heaps of pressure however still unable to test Ryan in the visiting goal.

Lambert realised the desperate situation Stoke found themselves in, and in an attempt to swing the momentum of the game into his favour, he turned to the returning Jese Rodriguez on the hour mark who replaced the largely ineffective Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. He also changed to an attacking 4-2-4 formation, and it payed dividends just minutes later.

After scoring last week, Xherdan Shaqiri had been very quiet for the majority of the game, however then found himself in space on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a curling effort past Ryan and into the far corner. 

The Australian keeper had had nothing to do up to that point, and couldn't do anything about the quality of the strike with the game now tied at 1-1.

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The home fans awoke and were in full voice as their team pushed for a winning goal with just 20 minutes to go, and soon thought they should've had a penalty. Shaqiri in the thick of the action again as he drove at the Brighton defence and thought he had been pushed, however referee Bob Madley waved away his appeals much to the frustration of the home fans.

Whilst Stoke may have felt a sense of injustice, a penalty decision then went their way just five minutes later after Stephens pulled down Jese in front of the referee. After some debate as to who would take the penalty, it was the on-loan star himself who stepped up. However his effort  was saved by Ryan down to his right. 

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The ball rebounded back and seemed to sit up perfectly for Jese to tap it home, however Lewis Dunk made a heroic tackle from behind to deny the Spaniard. Just seconds later, Charlie Adam's corner was headed goal-wards however was cleared off the line by Knockaert, with replays showing the ball was just inches from crossing the line.

Despite a lively ending to the game, it finished 1-1 which means Stoke remain in the relegation zone in 18th place, and could drop to 19th if Huddersfield win their game in hand. 

As for Brighton, they remain in 13th place after a stern defensive performance and will take a heap of confidence into their next game against Swansea.

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